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Fishing boat captain to ask Duterte to ban Chinese fishermen from Recto Bank

Jonel Insigne, the captain of the fishing boat that was rammed by a Chinese vessel in the West Philippine Sea last week, will ask President Rodrigo Duterte in their upcoming meeting to ban Chinese fishermen from Reed Bank (Recto Bank).

According to a report by Marisol Abdurahman on GMA's "24 Oras Weekend" on Sunday, Insigne will meet with Duterte to discuss the June 9 incident, in which the Chinese allegedly left the Filipino crew instead of helping them as their boat sank.

The report said that Insigne will request three things from Duterte—to provide assistance to repair the rammed boat, to ban Chinese fishermen from Recto Bank, and to hold the Chinese crew liable for the incident.

Insigne has earlier repeatedly said that the collision was intentional on the part of the Chinese, saying that their vessel went back and turned its lights on.

"Chinese po talaga. Fishing vessel," Insigne said, "Kung sa akin sinadya po 'yon."

The Chinese Embassy has since admitted that it was a Chinese vessel that hit the Philippine boat, but claimed that Yuemaobinyu 42212 was "berthed" at the area when it was supposedly "besieged" by the Filipino crew.

Data from the Department of National Defense indicate that the incident led to the Filipino vessel sinking, and that the Chinese did not help the Filipino crew.

Jimwel Tañedo, a relative of Insigne, said that the crew was asleep when the incident happened past midnight.

The crewmen had to battle the elements until they were rescued by a passing Vietnamese ship.

They were then taken aboard by the Philippine Navy Ship BRP Alcaraz, then transferred into the BRP Tausug, as the Alcaraz could not make port in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

Duterte has yet to make a direct public statement on the incident, but presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that he had already done so through his "alter egos"other officialsin government.

"He has already made a statement through his presidential spokesperson and chief presidential legal counsel as well as his two other alter egos, Secretary of National Defense and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs," Panelo said in a text message to GMA News Online on Friday.

Panelo last week hit reports that the Filipino crewmen were abandoned after the collision, in violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

"We are not politicizing that incident. What we’re focusing is on the act of abandoning, not the collision itself because collision happen in the high seas but the act of abandoning is in violation of UNCLOS, the United Nations Law on the Seas,” Panelo told ANC.

“You don’t even need an international law provision on that. It’s a human act of lending hand to somebody in distress."

Duterte's silence not gone has gained criticism, and the top official has been urged to make a stand to defend the Philippines regarding the matter.

"President Duterte himself met this issue with his trademark deafening silence in the face of Chinese aggression and misconduct," detained Senator Leila de Lima said.

During the first few months of his presidency in 2016, Duterte expressed openness to having friendlier ties with China and Russia.

In March, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio expressed concerns over loan agreements with China, specifically over the  P3.6-billion Chico River irrigation loan agreement, saying that China could later seize oil and gas-rich Philippine assets should the country default on payment.

Malacañang has since said that allowing China to seize patrimonial assets of the Philippines should the country fail to pay its debt is a standard clause in such contracts.

Panelo also called Carpio "unpatriotic" for pointing out the pro-China provisions in the loan agreement.

Meanwhile, the DOF last week said the Philippines did not waive its assets as collateral in the said loan agreement. — Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/BM, GMA News